The Fortress in Sagres is a must-visit spot in the western part of Algarve. Right next to it, or more like ahead of it, you'll find a charming town, set in a typical surfer's vibe, nestled on a rocky plateau.
According to the data from the Regional Directorate of Culture of Algarve, the fortress was visited by nearly 400,000 tourists in 2022, making it the most frequently visited monument in Algarve. 👀
The Sagres Fortress was built in the 15th century and, along with the Belixe and São Vicente fortresses nearby, formed a pivotal part of the defensive system along the Algarve coast. Its duties included safeguarding the sea routes between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as protecting the small port in Sagres. This port held significant importance for international traders and served as the focal point for the fishing industry in the region.
The promontory held significance not just for strategic reasons but also due to its location, carrying immense emotional value. In ancient times, Roman historian and writer Pliny the Elder referred to this place in his writings as the "Holy Cape", where according to some beliefs, the gods were thought to have resided.
And indeed, a specific kind of energy can be felt in this place... Winds and ocean currents mix here. The weather can be fickle, and windy, and can dynamically change.
The history of this fortress is tightly woven with the era of great geographical discoveries, and one of the most prominent Portuguese figures of that time was Henry the Navigator – an initiator of captivating overseas expeditions. Among them was the voyage in 1456 when, along with his crew, he discovered the Cape Verde Islands. He was also the main visionary and founder of a modern navigation school.
The academy within the sturdy walls of the Sagres fortress was a hub of inspiring intellectual gatherings. Mathematicians, engineers, scientists, navigators, students, astronomers, and other eminent thinkers of the era gathered there. Together, they developed increasingly advanced methods of navigating caravels, contributing significantly to the advancement of maritime discoveries.
Henry the Navigator, incredibly meritorious, passed away in 1460 in Sagres. Today, a monument stands in the town center commemorating his great achievements.
The fortress at Sagres housed several buildings, including a distinctive church 📍Nossa Senhora da Graça. On the parade ground was a mansion with a storehouse, which was later converted into stables. It was also the site of houses, a student dormitory, a battery with cannons and a cistern. There is also a sizable Wind Rose, well visible from the drone photos.
In 1755, a historic earthquake severely damaged the complex. Reconstruction work did not begin until 1793.
Listen to what the ocean has to tell you....
At the end of the promontory stands a circular structure. It's an acoustic construction designed for the purpose of... listening to the ocean. As I approached the heart of this small labyrinth, with every step, the sound of the ocean became increasingly resounding.
In the centre, surrounded by a labyrinth, there is a protected gap in the cliff. This is where the powerful sounds come from, carrying with them the explosions of air masses. The crack in the cliff opens up several tens of metres downwards, where the waves hit the rocks. It's worth stopping by...
Opening hours and ticket prices:
- Summer/May - September || 9:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Winter/October - April | | 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Individual ticket: €3.00
- Group ticket (25 or more tickets): 2,70 €
- Persons aged 65 and over: €1.50
- Students: 1,50 €
- Youth Card holders: 1,50 €
- Persons with disabilities: 1,50 €
- Family Ticket (from 4 persons in direct line of consanguinity): 1,50 €
- * * Other options 👉🏻 ask on-site/prices may differ a little from season to season
Other Sagres attractions
- Beaches: Sagres offers stunning beaches, perfect for surfing enthusiasts, such as Praia da Mareta, Martinhal Beach, Praia do Tonel, and Praia do Beliche. Cape St Vincent – Cabo de São Vicente,read more ⚓️ Click Here📍